Bee Balm –
Round flower clusters bursting with tubular petals. Minty fragrance. Attracts butterflies and bees. Blooms mid summer. Considered a good plant to grow around tomatoes, ostensibly improving both health and flavor. Medicinal plant used by many Native American tribes as a strong antiseptic. Also used as seasoning for wild game.
Very large, bright red florets appear in tight clusters atop stocky, square stems from midsummer to fall. This variety is one of the most mildew resistant as reported throughout the United States.
Winchester Gardens generally stocks this item.
Plant in spring or fall, spacing plants 1 to 2 feet apart. Prepare garden bed by using a garden fork or tiller to loosen soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost. Dig a hole twice the diameter of the plant’s container. Carefully remove the plant from its pot and place it in the hole so the top of the rootball is level with the soil surface. Carefully fill in around the rootball and firm the soil gently. Water thoroughly.
Apply a thin layer of compost each spring, followed by a 2-inch layer of mulch to retain moisture and control weeds. Water plants during the summer if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week. Remove spent flowers to keep plants looking tidy. After the first killing frost, cut stems back to an inch or two above soil line. Divide plants in spring every few years or when you notice the center of the plant dying out.
Veronica – ‘Blue Charm’ veronica bears spikes of light blue flowers at the same time as bee balm. The habit and flower shape contrast well.
Aster – Masses of small, pale blue flowers appear in summer on heart-leaf aster and provide an airy contrast to bee balm.
Coneflower – The large daisy flowers of purple coneflower mix well with those of bee balm, especially in sunny wildflower gardens.
Evening primrose – Blooming in summer, the clusters of yellow goblet flowers of common sundrops mix well with bee balm, especially the mahogany-color varieties.